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What makes more difference, the driver tubes or the power tubes?
Driver tubes 60%  60%  [ 29 ]
Power tubes 8%  8%  [ 4 ]
Rectifier 15%  15%  [ 7 ]
Depends on the amp 17%  17%  [ 8 ]
Total votes : 48
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:36 am 
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Just wondering what you guys feel has a greater effect on sound in a tube amp - the driver (preamp) tubes or the power tubes. I've seen strong arguments both ways.


Last edited by Lethargy on Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:42 am 
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Go for the biggest return on the dollar and upgrade the driver tube(s) first.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:30 am 
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brf wrote:
Go for the biggest return on the dollar and upgrade the driver tube(s) first.


That would be my choice. Logically, it would make sense that the drivers should make more difference, being earlier in the signal chain and generally having a higher amplification factor than the power tubes. And yet, much more of the talk on audio forums seems to focus on power tubes, so you'd think there must be something to it. Or are power tubes just sexier because they're bigger and they glow more? :lol:

This is a purely hypothetical discussion, by the way. I don't have any specific amp or tubes in mind. I'm just wondering what everybody thinks.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:10 am 
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In my experience with the one tube amp I ever owned, the driver tube upgrade made much more difference. I tried several tubes with that Dynaco ST35.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2017 11:21 am 
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I agree, that the driver tubes have a significant effect on the sound, along the same lines I wonder if staying within the same family of tubes has any great effect, eg all Gold Lion, EH, or Tung Sol for both?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:52 am 
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bill2013 wrote:
I agree, that the driver tubes have a significant effect on the sound, along the same lines I wonder if staying within the same family of tubes has any great effect, eg all Gold Lion, EH, or Tung Sol for both?


I've never heard of that, but I suppose there might be something to it. A lot of people talk about synergy and getting the right balance within a system. While I've never seen anyone claim that staying within one brand might be the answer to that, maybe it's worth a try. If nothing else, the tubes would look nicer, with all the same labels. :D

I'm wondering if this might not be a bigger thing in the future, with companies making or having input on the specs of both tubes and amps. The two that come immediately to mind are Sophia Electric, which doesn't actually make tubes but has a close relationship with TJ Fullmusic, and Shuguang, which I believe has some part in making the amps with their names on them that are sold by Grant Fidelity. My knowledge in this area is really limited, though. Maybe somebody else has more information and an opinion to offer?


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:05 am 
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We have forgotten the rectifier tubes gentlemen they also have a large affect.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:09 am 
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carverrocks wrote:
We have forgotten the rectifier tubes gentlemen they also have a large affect.


Well, I added rectifier, and it wiped the first six votes. Dang. I thought I was being so clever. I guess we can all go home now. :oops:


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:14 am 
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brf wrote:
Go for the biggest return on the dollar and upgrade the driver tube(s) first.


+ 1


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 6:39 am 
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carverrocks wrote:
We have forgotten the rectifier tubes gentlemen they also have a large affect.


IME, it is very amp specific. In my preamp, the rectifiers are run very conservatively and do not suffer from any voltage sag.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 8:43 am 
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Drivers and rectifier..in preamps especially, mine anyway.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:07 pm 
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Input (first stage tubes) make the biggest difference in my experience.
More than drivers or output tubes.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:10 pm 
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MENDEL24 wrote:
Input (first stage tubes) make the biggest difference in my experience.
More than drivers or output tubes.


So the earlier in the signal chain, the greater the difference? Makes sense.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:55 pm 
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Lethargy wrote:
MENDEL24 wrote:
Input (first stage tubes) make the biggest difference in my experience.
More than drivers or output tubes.


So the earlier in the signal chain, the greater the difference? Makes sense.


Yup!

The later stages will just give you more of what you roll in the driver & rectifiers.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 5:10 pm 
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Lethargy wrote:
MENDEL24 wrote:
Input (first stage tubes) make the biggest difference in my experience.
More than drivers or output tubes.


So the earlier in the signal chain, the greater the difference? Makes sense.


Yes. That said, they all make a difference. Drivers and Output tubes work together so can be viewed as a pair. Drivers that work great with some output tubes are not as great with others. My amps have solid state rectifiers so I can't comment on those other than many find them important as well.
Enjoy the roll!


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